THUNDER BAY – Its the Internet not the protester that is the news maker of the year. While some might look at personalities as the top news story of the year, perhaps it is the communications portal, the Internet, and social media which should be the real top news maker of 2011.
Between the Internet, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, just to name a few sites, it has been the ability of people to communicate that has allowed much of the major change across the globe to happen.
In the Middle East, the Arab Spring was fueled by the ability of people to communicate. In the Occupy Wall Street movement it was communications that fueled the movement. In Vancouver, the Stanley Cup riots are being resolved by pictures and images shared online by citizens.
In Thunder Bay, the Internet, and our instant connections across the region, and around the world are making for massive change. While there once was a time information was held closer, and people would take days, weeks or forever to find out what is happening, today that time, courtesy of smartphones and wireless devices along with computers is reduced to nano-seconds.
When groups are freed from slow communications, and are able to share information quickly and securely, it allows then to mobilize quickly. In Thunder Bay increasingly there are more and more people on the Internet, sharing with each other and working to make our city a better place. When the President of SHIFT Network reaches out with an update, they instantly are reaching almost 800 members.
When news breaks, it can move online in mere minutes. In Thunder Bay the best example this year was the recent scare at Bombardier. The first online reporting of the incident was on Netnewsledger.com at 12:54PM. Our site beat The Giant 105.3’s website by a mere three minutes. The Giant posted the news at 12:57 PM. Jeff Walters of CBC Thunder Bay had the story tweeted before 1:00PM, and The Chronicle Journal posted the information just after 1:00PM. Dougall Media was out with the story at 1:31PM on TBNewswatch. The City of Thunder Bay had the information posted on the City’s Facebook page by 1:00PM as well.
On NetNewsledger.com yesterday over 400 residents connected to Crime Mapping, most came via a post on Facebook.
That kind of speed is what people are expecting today, and it is helping. In days gone by, people could wait for the nightly news, and many still do, but when you need to know what is happening right now, that is the task that the Internet has taken over the lead.
Once it was radio, but just like during those terrible days in November 1963 over reporting of the Kennedy assasination, television trumped print and radio, today the Internet is trumping radio and print. Often in fact, individuals through their Facebook and Twitter postings are getting information out far faster than any media outlet. There are, of course problems with that speed.
As witnessed on December 19/11, a website and twitter blast resulted in false reports that Jon Bon Jovi had died. That post resulted in others re-tweeting it, and yet others posting it on their Facebook updates. The only problem was it wasn’t true.
The speed of information, and to a degree the scope of information that is now flooding out is overwhelming to many. It has fueled the massive growth of Google, and has made search engines a critical part of the online world.
However the overall impact of the Internet in 2011 has been to change our world.
While TIME magazine has made the protester their “Person of the Year“, more likely it is the infrastructure; the Internet, Social Networking, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube which have made so much of the changes that have happened, which is the real news-maker of the year for 2011.
Chief Content Officer